Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Fifteen Summer Associate Events On The Original Draft Schedule That Were Vetoed By The Hiring Committee

1. Skydiving
2. Extreme Paintball
3. Pin The Tail on the Paralegal
4. Document Review Night
5. An Evening At The Coroner's
6. Get Drunk and Spew
7. Triathlon
8. Meet Some Criminals
9. Pimp-and-Ho Costume Party
10A. Date-Rape-Drug Night
10B. Morning-After-Pill Breakfast
10C. Abortion Lunch
11. Tell The Partners How You Really Feel
12. Cocaine Brunch
13. Other-Firm-Recruiting-Materials Bonfire
14. Work Through Dinner
15. Sacrifice-One-Of-Your-Own Night

Friday, July 30, 2004

I'm making up for yesterday's short post with a half-dozen posts today I guess. No reason, just more to say.

Anyway, Sua Sponte has a post about her "summer turn[ing] serious" that makes me feel a little bit ill:

[W]e're competing over a finite number of seats in our preferred practice groups.... If I can stay active in both of my potential practice groups of choice, if I can book enough completed projects in the summer associate database and enough face time with people whom I'd like to remember my name, then I don't see a need to game the system any further.
Look, maybe she's right. Maybe people need to "game the system" to get what they want. I don't know. I don't want to think so. I want to think we live in a world where the things that are supposed to happen to us happen to us because we deserve them. And if we don't get the things we think we want, maybe we're not supposed to want them, or maybe we just don't deserve them. This is a view of the world that presupposes some sort of fate or destiny, I guess. And maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's all on our shoulders. Maybe it's all in how we "game the system." But something inside me tells me maybe it's not. Wait a second. That wasn't what I intended to write. What I intended to write is that this seems like an awful lot of psychic energy to be spending on what practice group you're going to end up in, when, in large part, it's in other people's hands. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the world is a soul-crushing place. Maybe these are really the things it's worth our energy to be worrying about. Maybe we're not meant to just enjoy our lives and the gifts we're fortunate enough to have. I hope not. And, no, I don't know exactly how Sua Sponte's post is related to what I just wrote. :)
I saw the movie Garden State this evening. I'd read some reviews (that link is to the Rotten Tomatoes site), and they were pretty much all glowing, and I was really excited about seeing the movie. But I didn't get it. For me, it didn't work. It was scattered, the characters were unsympathetic, it just didn't do it for me. Not fun to sit through. Oh well.
Sherry at Stay of Execution points out some pretty sad stuff that happens to lawyers:

When you're a lawyer, time is money, right? And so every coffee or lunch break you take to catch up with a friend is time you're not billing.... Don't they understand that this time has a price? Maybe it's free for them, but it's not for you. Conversely, if you're having lunch with another lawyer, someone more senior than you, whose time is worth lots more (or at least, whose billable rate makes their time more expensive), you feel a sort of strange gratitude. You expect them to get through the lunch and then briskly bring things to a close and get back to the office. If they linger or suggest coffee, well, wow, that's so generous, what a good guy this is....
Gosh. I don't want to be measuring my leisure time by what it's costing me. This friend's worth $100 but this other one's only worth $50? What if I have lunch with both of them at once? $75? $150? Come on. This is bad. Bad bad bad. Shouldn't we be doing things because we enjoy them? Is this what happens to lawyers? Does billing time at work take over one's life? Bad. Bad bad bad.
The Mets just traded their future for two mediocre starting pitchers who will help them finish in fourth place this year. Ridiculous. They traded their top pitching prospect (Scott Kazmir), their top hitting prospect (Justin Huber), a solid utility infielder (Ty Wigginton), a solid pitching prospect (Matt Peterson), and some guy I never heard of but based on the rest of this is probably the next Roger Clemens (Jose Diaz) for Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano, who are just not that good. It is mind-boggling why the Mets would do this. Mind-boggling. It would be like trading your three-year-old child for a parakeet. It doesn't make any sense. So I'm now taking suggestions on what team to root for instead, because I'm not watching any more Mets games. I want a team with upside. The Padres are my first thought. Maybe the Twins or the Indians. Anyone have any suggestions? Tell me why I should join your bandwagon. Really, I'm shopping for a new team. Heck, it doesn't even need to be a baseball team. I'll root for the Liberty instead. The Mets don't deserve to win another game, ever.
Went on a field trip this morning to the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is a big trading floor where people trade, in person, in oil and other physical commodities. Basically, they wear brightly colored jackets and yell at each other. Think a racetrack, without the horses. Or a casino, but with a clock. Or a cockfight, but without the chickens. That one may work the best, since there are rings where people trade, and stuff like that -- and, I assume, there are rings at cockfights where the animals fight. I guess. I think the only cockfight I've seen was in the movie "Fight Club," and I only saw half of the movie, so maybe I'm imagining the cockfight. I have no idea.

Nine Unpopular Law Firm Practice Groups, Less Funny Than I Thought I Could Pull Off
9. Unreal Estate
8. Old British Law
7. AntiAntitrust (or, as those in the know call it, just plain Trust)
6. Prenuptial Agreements for Poor People
5. Futures
4. Pasts
3. Presents
2. Indentures and Indentured Servitude
1. Moral Bankruptcy

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I watched "Da Ali G Show" on HBO on Sunday. One of the segments had a supposed reporter from Kazakhstan interviewing a real Congressional candidate. The Congressional candidate is unhappy with how he was portrayed and posted a note to that effect on his website. Pretty funny stuff, even if you didn't see the show.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I got nothing.

I mean, I could spit out something like "Top Ten Signs Your Memo Is Too Long" (#4: The index has an index) or "Top Ten Excuses for Not Finishing Your Assignment On Time" (#7: Lunch was 142 hours long), but I'd just be going through the motions. I could make a joke about political figure "Deep Throat" dying today ("No, no, not Monica Lewinsky") but that would be cheap. I could link you to some interesting stuff on other blogs (like here or here), but that's always a last-resort kind of tactic. I could talk about the really flexible new toothbrush I bought and how it's totally rocking my oral hygiene world, but there's only so much I can say about a toothbrush. I could talk about the book I started reading on the way home tonight and how I think it's really interesting so far, but I'm only on page 31, so I can't really be sure it'll hold up for the whole book. But I've got nothing. So I'll just give you this mess of a post and hope it's enough.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The day before I started my summer job, I remember I posted a set of "expectations" for the summer. Just two and a half weeks from the end of this stuff, I thought I might revisit and see if my expectations were right.

1. I expect to learn just how many shades of blue there are. I don't mean sadness. I mean blue like in dress shirts.

Well, that came true, I guess. Lots of people wear blue. I bought one new blue shirt since writing that, and I wear it a bunch. People wear tan too. And occasionally pink or white. What a dumb expectation. This would have been cooler if I'd been a little more serious with this post. But I'll get there. This has the potential to be a long rant about something, although who knows what at this point.

2. I expect to be able to more fully articulate the differences between Lexis and Westlaw, what one has and the other hasn't...

Well, not really. I liked Lexis better before, and no one gave me a reason to switch. We had training in both, but I haven't done tons and tons and tons of research -- I've certainly done some, but not enough where I needed to make sure I was using whichever one is "better," whatever that means. I learned there's no reason to care about Lexis, Westlaw, and which one to use. I won a contest the Lexis rep e-mailed us about last week though -- and was promised an gift certificate. Got the gift certificate yesterday. It's for $5.00. I mean, that's better than nothing, but it's not really all that much. What can I buy on Amazon for $5? Anyway, I'll keep using Lexis anyway, because I like it better. I don't know why. The earth tones color scheme maybe.

3. I expect to participate in a lot of summer associate events, in fact probably the same number and exactly the same type as my friends at other firms around the city.

Sure. Lots of stuff. We've had some really nice events. With good food, or a nice thing to watch, or a cool place to be. They're all really well-planned, and there's no reason they shouldn't be really fantastic. But after a while -- I don't know, in a way they start to feel the same after a while. In a way, we get too used to going to doing cool things, which is a terrible thing to be complaining about, and I'm not really complaining. But you're sort of still paying attention to what you're saying, since there are lawyers all around... so in a way it feels a little more like still being at work than just being at this fun thing for the sake of the fun thing. Which is unavoidable, and expected, and obviously not horrible by any stretch, but just is part of what it is. But it's been nice to have them. I'm glad I got to see "Wicked." I'm glad I've gotten to do a whole bunch of things I would never have paid for. But I'm also glad I didn't make a decision about which firm to work at based entirely on the list of events, because that would have been sort of silly in retrospect, probably sillier than it would have seemed at the time.

4. I expect to get tired of eating in nice restaurants, since I hear I will end up having a lot of nice lunches.

Definitely. Unfortunately. By now, 10 weeks in, part of me would almost rather eat some $4 falafel than some of the $60 meals I've had. Not that they're bad, but at a point we get too used to them, and in a way they're just not that special. And sometimes it's hard to make conversation with people you don't really know -- the partners and associates are surely mostly nice, but if you don't know each other... and you're not, say, my grandmother, who can talk to anyone at any time about anything and make a new best friend, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it's, well, sort of more like torture to have to sit there. Despite the food. But it's nice to have the chance, and nice to get out of the office and talk to people over a meal instead of over a desk, and nice not to pay for lunch and have people to eat with. So thumbs up, even though I'm probably never going to want to eat in a nice restaurant ever again.

5. I expect to like it. I mean, everyone says it's a lot of fun, I'll get to meet some students from other schools, meet some lawyers, figure out what it is lawyers do, go to some cool events and activities, eat in nice restaurants, see some things besides the inside of a classroom, really what's not to like.

I'm glad I did this for a summer. I've met a bunch of people from other schools, met some lawyers, figured out what lawyers do... all that stuff. But as I write this post, I'm thinking the post I would rather have looked back on is a post I didn't write, not about my expectations for the summer, but about my goals. I'm not exactly sure what my goals would have been -- and maybe that's why there wasn't a post about them. In a way, they would have been sort of like the expectations, but not entirely -- I mean, I expected to go to nice restaurants, but I wouldn't really call that a goal. And the blue shirt thing doesn't make any genuine sense in any context I guess, but at least it was excusable as merely an "expectation."

Maybe I didn't write about my goals for the summer because I didn't really know what they were. But I also don't have a post about my worries for the summer, even though I know I had some. I wasn't worried about the work -- no reflection on me -- I don't think anyone should be worried about the work. I expected they weren't going to give us stuff we couldn't reasonably be capable of doing, and I don't know that I've spoken to anyone who has felt unprepared to do legal research or anything else they've been asked to do. We may not understand the context of the assignments, but I get the strong sense everyone at the firm knows what we can do and they've been doing this long enough that there's really no reason to worry about the work. I was in the fortunate position to not have to move to a new city I was unfamiliar with, where I didn't know anyone, so I wasn't too worried about finding stuff to do outside of work, or living/working in NY, or anything like that. That absolutely would have been a worry if I'd been going anywhere else, and is certainly, all else being equal, a reason why I didn't even really consider it. I've done the job-in-a-new-place-for-a-while before and didn't really feel like doing it again. I was worried I wouldn't get any real writing done this summer, and that was actually a pretty legitimate worry, because I hoped to have done more, on a bunch of different projects, but it's hard when you're in an office all day, and even if not busy 100% of the time, it's still hard to focus. But I can't really blame myself for that, and I've been reasonably prolific on here, and gotten a little bit done elsewhere, so I'm just being hard on myself if I feel too bad about it. I can't make myself do more than I can do. Before the summer, I asked a friend who worked at a firm last summer how many friends he made -- how many people he was still in contact with from his summer class, that were people he'd do stuff with outside of work, that were actual friends more than just co-workers. He said 1 or 2, and that seemed like a reasonable hope. I was probably more concerned than I needed to be about making friends at work -- it's only 13 weeks, I have friends outside of work, etc -- but it's nice to make new friends, to find new people you connect with, to make the work day not so lonely. And that's been much better than I feared it had the potential to be, and certainly a bigger plus than the nice restaurants and free paper clips, no contest. I don't know where this post started out intending to go, but everything that gets this long does so with a mind of its own. It's just another in the "what summer at a firm is like" series, I guess. Am I really writing for anyone except the man inside my head at this point? I mean, no one's reading this far, especially without paragraph breaks. :)
I've got a post at De Novo about the Democratic Convention speeches last night. I didn't watch any of it, but I read the text this morning in the New York Times. If you're looking for more to read...

Monday, July 26, 2004

Decisions In A Day: The Tough Choices Facing Summer Associates

1. Do I wear the:
(a) blue shirt with gray pants?
(b) gray shirt with blue pants?
(c) white shirt with no pants?

2. Do I take:
(a) the express train and walk 6 blocks?
(b) the local train and walk 1 block?
(c) the little pills the doctor said would help me feel better?

3. For breakfast, do I eat:
(a) a bagel?
(b) a muffin?
(c) the food still leftover in my teeth from yesterday's enormously expensive lunch?

4. Do I research using:
(a) Lexis?
(b) Westlaw?
(c) Actual books from the library... if only I knew what books those were...?

5. In my memo to the partner, do I:
(a) Indent each paragraph?
(b) Skip lines?
(c) Use the Wingdings font?

6. When billing time, do I:
(a) Record the time directly on the computer as I complete each task?
(b) Keep a record by hand and enter it all at the end of the day?
(c) Just make stuff up?

7. For my appetizer at lunch, should I:
(a) Order the baby green salad?
(b) Order the baby octopus?
(c) Order a baby?

8. For dessert, should I:
(a) Offer to share with my neighbor?
(b) Gorge myself on the 16 oz. carrot cake?
(c) Eat to be polite, and then vomit in my napkin?

9. After lunch, do I:
(a) Return to the office and finish up my research project?
(b) Return to the office and ask for a new assignment?
(c) Go straight home, since lunch did take five hours?

10. On the way home, do I:
(a) Read some cases in preparation for tomorrow's conference call?
(b) Read the Wall Street Journal in case of any relevant legal news?
(c) Cry?

11. The next morning, do I:
(a) Go to work?
(b) Go to work?
(c) "Do summers get vacation days"??

Sunday, July 25, 2004

My mom just told me she's reading a book about menopause [she gave me permission to write that]. To my disappointment, it is not called, "What To Expect When You Can No Longer Expect."
"Do you have time for a project? I'd like you to draft some contract language for me."
"Sure. You know I've never drafted any contract language before, right?"
"Yeah, but this shouldn't be too bad."
"Okay. What's the client number?"
"It's not for a client. It's for me. I'm selling my kids."
"Excuse me?"
"I'm selling my kids. No time to deal with them."
"So why don't you draft something and then bring it by my office, okay?"
"Okay, great. I'll come by when I've got something."

THIS AGREEMENT is made this 25th of July, 2004 between Law Firm Partner ("Seller") and Innocent Bystander ("Buyer").


Seller shall sell to Buyer the goods described in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference (the "Goods"). The Goods shall consist of three children, ages 12, 9, and 6 (or 5. I forget), named "Morgan," "Brittany," and "[to be filled in later, when wife reminds me]," respectively.


Delivery of the Goods shall be made at the rate of one child each month on the 1st day of August, September, and October of 2004. Delivery of the Goods by Seller to the carrier at the point of shipment shall constitute delivery to Buyer, subject to the lien of Seller for the unpaid purchase price. Seller shall not be liable for any failure to deliver if the failure is occasioned by fire, embargo, strike, temper tantrum, disease, mental or emotional impairment or any other circumstances beyond the control of the Seller which shall hinder Seller's performance of this Agreement.


Buyer shall be responsible to Seller for any loss or damage to Seller by reason of any failure or default on the part of Buyer to obtain the love of the three children, and follow all laws in connection with the State of New York as regard the treatment of children. Also, Seller will not pay for private school, ballet lessons, or a puppy.


All taxes, duties, imposts, fees or charges of any governmental body, however, denominated ("Taxes") shall be added to the purchase price for the Goods and paid by Buyer.




Seller shall, without limitation, be in default of this Agreement if Seller shall feel guilty about the transaction and attempt to cancel, or if Seller's wife finds out and stops these shenanigans. Seller shall not be in default for nonperformance due to fire, natural disaster, acts or defaults of common carriers, divorce, or other cause beyond the reasonable control of Seller.


Buyer shall, without limitation, be in default of this Agreement if Buyer shall fail to make any payment to Seller when due under this or any other agreement between Buyer and Seller; but the Buyer shall not be in default if the children destroy his house and stain the furniture.


This Agreement is the entire contract between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior agreements and negotiations between them.

(Signatures of the parties)


Child 1: MORGAN, Male, 12 years old. Wears clothing only from Armani Kids and enjoys his hamburgers medium rare and filled with foie gras and black truffles. Likes polo. Drinks gin. Once shot another boy to death just to watch him die. Collects designer neckwear. Is not toilet trained.

Child 2: BRITTANY, Female, 9 years old. Is currently three months pregnant. Training to be anorexic. Aspires to dance in Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center has been reserved for her to dance in next Tuesday. Enjoys yachting and microbrewery. Only wears diamonds larger than one carat.

Child 3: [Name to filled in later], Male (I think), 5 or 6 years old. Emotionally attached to a bath towel. Eats only caviar. Receiving private skating lessons from Wayne Gretzky each Wednesday at 2. Tennis instruction from Jim Courier Tuesdays at 4. Sommelier training Thursdays at 6. Enjoys foreign travel, roulette, and ordering around the help.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A little bit of catch-up:

Thursday night we went to see the Broadway musical "Wicked" as a law firm event. It's a spectacle. I say that in a good way. Lots of set pieces, special effects, etc. The music is OK but not thrillingly memorable and catchy -- you won't leave humming too much. The lyrics are fine but didn't blow me away. The story is interesting more than anything else. The singing was excellent. There's a really lovely ballad in Act Two called "For Good" that I really liked. Not giving anything away, it's basically the story of the lives of the good witch and the wicked witch leading up to when the wicked witch melts. That gives nothing away. In the back of my mind, I feel like I could write an interesting article tying some of the themes in "Wicked" to the practice of law, but that would be a forced comparison made sensible only by virtue of the fact that this was a law firm event. I'm going to let that idea simmer for a while and see if anything comes out of it.

Today (Saturday) I went to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey with some friends. Roller coasters are cool. They've made some cool new ones since the last time I was in any amusement park a bunch of years ago. Because the weather predicted rain, the park wasn't too crowded so the lines weren't bad at all -- plus it never rained. Best of both worlds, except that any faith I may have had in weather forecasters is gone now. Really. I will not check the weather ever again. They lie. :)

And, a TV recommendation -- I've watched a few episodes of "Crossballs" on Comedy Central, a fake debate show like Crossfire and Hardball, where actors pose as experts and debate real experts who don't know they're actors. There's potential for it to be really, really funny -- it executes the concept decently, but not perfectly, so it ends up being merely funny. But merely funny is still worth watching, I think. It is not totally unlike HBO's "Da Ali G Show" which I caught last Sunday. Also the show the preceded "Ali G" called "Entourage" was a solid watch as well. Add in "Last Comic Standing" and I believe I've just listed every TV show I've watched in the past week except for an inning or two of yesterday's Mets game. 3-5 hours a week seems like a safe level of TV watching, I think.

Friday, July 23, 2004

TO: All members of the firm
RE: Appropriate and inappropriate interview questions

With recruiting season upon us, I wanted to ensure that we do not repeat some mistakes from the past, as well as ensuring we do not run afoul of the law. Please heed the following points carefully, especially if you're disabled, since you're the first ones we'll fire in a downturn anyway.

1. It is very important to be sensitive to issues of race. Do not acknowledge the candidate's race in any way, even if you have the best intentions in mind (e.g., examples from last year, telling a student who was either Scandanavian or just had really fair skin how the salary will allow him "enough money to visit the Nordic homeland," or insisting the firm "needs you for the diversity brochure.") However, if you do find yourself making a reference to someone's ethnic background, please at least be accurate. Recall the problem last year when Don asked the slightly overweight Canadian student if he was a sumo wrestler, leading to a puzzled reaction. Finally, do not overcompensate with hyperbole. "I have never met a person like you I didn't like" is not appropriate small talk. Especially not when followed up with, "of course, I live in a gated community and my father was a Nazi."

2. Similarly, gender is a very sensitive area. Despite what normally passes for appropriate talk in the office, do not refer to female candidates as "bitches." Please keep that kind of language limited to non-interview situations or when the candidate is not within earshot. Also, references to how much you would like the chance to get a particular candidate pregnant are usually not appropriate, with some exceptions (see Appendix A). Finally, don't tell any female candidates about the mandatory sterilization for first-years.

3. It is unfortunate that 'political correctness' has made it impossible for us to continue using our old evaluation scale ('genius,' 'normal,' 'retard'). Instead, we will use numbers corresponding to those three levels: "1," "2," and "absolutely not, due to apparent mental illness, or just doesn't seem Protestant enough." Please stick to those terms.

4. Don't tell Jewish candidates about the annual pig roast. When in doubt, assume all candidates from Ivy League schools are Jewish.

5. Moving on, please refrain from using stereotypes about certain undergraduate institutions when conducting the interview. "I see you went to the University of Florida. I think I saw you in a Girls Gone Wild video" is not appropriate for an on-campus interview, although standards are more flexible during call-backs.

6. Do not vomit on the candidates. Even if they are ugly.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. Especially the morons on floor 17.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

If anyone's looking to give yourself a nightmare, check out the summary of the 9/11 Commission Report. Just in case you weren't having nightmares about anything else.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

TO: All members of the firm
RE: Dress code

Recently we have noticed some disappointing fashion choices among attorneys and staff, compelling the need for this memo regarding appropriate, inappropriate, and just plain disgusting business attire.


For men: collared shirts, cuffed slacks (with or without pleat), uncuffed slacks (pleated only), khakis (except for the shade of khaki that falls directly in between beige and tan but would not be properly termed 'light brown'), business suits (above $800 retail price only), anything with pinstripes (including tank tops), brown or black shoes (no sandals), no dungarees (or any other anachronistic name you may use for 'jeans,' not limited to 'blue miners' pants,' 'denim leg coverings,' or 'stonewashed sport casual pants'), nylon or cotton socks (no polyester), boxer briefs only (or no undergarment at all), earmuffs, corncob pipe, fedora, eye patch, BreatheRight nasal strips, wristbands, ring pops, black fingernail polish, antennae.

For women: skirts and/or slacks, in any color darker than the color of your soul, blouses with an odd number of buttons only (blouses with zippers are an exception), scarves, shawls, boas, anything with sequins or feathers, diamonds (real), pearls (fake), sweatsuits (pink only), shoes with heels lower than 1" or higher than 4", stockings (clear or fishnet), army fatigues (bottoms only), any item colored 'lemon yellow,' peacoats, pantyhose, anything made from an animal carcass and/or hide, socks (two or fewer), gloves (one or fewer), shoulder pads (three or greater), spacesuits, gas masks, fire-retardant overcoats, hospital scrubs, leg warmers, bicycle shorts, disposable diapers, cast-iron headware, sundresses, pajamas with feet.


Shorts, tank tops, anything orange, anything that glows in the dark, anything that exposes any part of your genitalia, anything manufactured in Canada, clothing with small parts that could be swallowed by children, anything with a removable metal spike, anything made entirely of wheatgrass, pompoms, moccasins, anything featuring a brand logo larger than three square inches, anything containing a subliminal message, roller blades, nose rings, nipple rings, kidney rings, liver rings, anything designed to protect your pancreas from unusual trauma, fur coats (live only), anything made mostly (>50%) from seaweed, undergarments worn on the outside, outergarments worn on the underside, anything made of sand, all flavored clothing, anything that creates a fire hazard or is in fact actually on fire, anything made of the shredded remains of old client records, anything that appears to be purposefully torn, anything made of cheese, anything attractive, anything that matches your neighbor, anything bold, anything stylish, anything cheap.

Thank you for your careful attention to these matters.   

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I just got an e-mail that makes me feel like a pretty worthless human being:
Congratulations...You have achieved LexisNexis Ultimate Rewards Elite status! The LexisNexis Elite Program was designed especially for our valued LexisNexis users as our way of showing appreciation for your loyalty. As an Elite member you will be rewarded with special perks and privileges available only to Elite members. By earning 2,000 LexisNexis Ultimate Rewards points this semester, you earned Elite status. You will maintain Elite status for the remainder of the semester and, provided you're still an active law school student, all of next semester.
I have 3,550 Lexis points, which, my ten seconds of sleuthing tells me, is about enough for 4 CDs on  Any recommendations? 
Nine hours of sleep is much better than seven and a half.

Monday, July 19, 2004

I just saw Before Sunset, a modest little film by Richard Linklater.  It's a sequel to a 1995 film, "Before Sunrise," about an American man and a French woman who meet on a train headed toward Vienna one day and fall in love -- but he has to leave the next day.  They don't exchange information, but promise to meet 6 months later, to the day, back in Vienna.  They don't.  9 years later, and he's back in Paris.  And there she is.  The movie throws out all of this exposition in the first five minutes, for those of us who didn't see the first film.  I didn't see the first film.  A bunch of the reviews say seeing the first film makes this one even better.  This one was pretty darn good anyway.  It's 80 minutes of talk.  They talk.  And talk.  But it's good talk.  It draws you in.  It makes you listen.  It has depth, it has emotion, it has some meaning.  It doesn't sound like movie dialogue.  That's a compliment.  It's talk that makes you think about yourself, and makes you care about the characters.  For the most part.  I found the talk about the meaning of their lives much more compelling than the talk about their sex lives, which could have been excised out without losing anything for all that I cared.  I found the ending dragged a little bit.  But those are quibbles.  This is a good film.  Well worth seeing.

Are You Interviewing Soon?  The Day-In-The-Life-Of-A-Summer-Associate MegaPost
Yesterday I posted some questions that 2Ls might consider when looking at law firms as they begin the job search process (it's not a terrible post; check it out directly below).  But this morning I realize that I've gotten a step ahead of myself.  I mean, how can someone think about questions before they even really know what people at law firms do.  I had very little conception of the day-to-day of a summer associate's life before getting to the firm I'm at.  And I probably haven't done a terrific job this summer of really painting a good picture of a typical day.  I'm pretty sure that a typical day here looks a lot like a typical day everywhere, so I feel like this might actually be useful.  I'm aiming for useful rather than funny, but I will try to accomplish the Herculean task of being both.  Thus: a typical day.
1. I wake up at 7:20, which is too early.  But I'm living at home, and I'm about an hour and ten minutes away on a typical day (a little bit less if I don't "just miss" a bus or a subway).  For people who've never had a "real job" before, you won't appreciate the benefits of not having a long commute until it's too late and you've already plunked down $$$$ on a sublet in a "more fun" area of town, or a "gentrifying hamlet" across the river, or a "slum that someone described quite disingenuously on Craigslist."  For people who've had real jobs before, you already know.  Nevertheless, the fact that my rent is free makes the commute worth it, at least intellectually.  And I've been able to get my Amazon wish list significantly reduced because of the awesome way that the New York Public Library can gather the books I request together and e-mail me when they're waiting for me, all at no charge.  This library thing is pretty cool.  I still don't understand why downloading music is bad, but libraries continue to be an acceptable way of reading other people's intellectual property for free.  Is it because you have to return them?  So 30-day mp3s with free renewal up to 5 times and the ability to borrow again and again would make the music industry happy?  I suppose it's the scale -- the library needs to buy each book it lends -- but now with stuff like iTunes, could we have an iTunes library where only 1 person can take the song out for every copy the library buys?  I've gotten off track here, and so quickly.  In any event, I wake up at 7:20, and then waste 20 minutes setting my fantasy baseball lineups, checking e-mail, and seeing if anyone linked to my blog overnight.  These are things I could wait to do at work and get 20 more minutes of sleep in the morning.  But there's something about the more gradual ascent from sleep to shower to subway that feels better than jumping right from bed out the door.  Other people press snooze; I press "Scott Hatteberg 1B/DH; Travis Hafner Bench."
2. It's 8:50.  I've completed the bus portion of my journey and I'm now leaning up against something filthy on the subway.  There have been 4 days when I've gotten a seat.  Either a Friday before a holiday weekend, or a day when I left later than I should.  Every other day I lean against something filthy.  A couple of times there have been no more things to lean against and I have to touch a subway pole.  I've written articulately about subway poles before.  Those especially interested can do a search.
3. Sometime between 9:14 and 9:27, I arrive at work.  We're supposed to be here at 9:30.  This is as close as I can time it and still feel comfortable.  If I'm in the mood, I stop at the Attorney Lounge on the way up and get a muffin (if there are any left).  The bagels are more popular than the muffins, but I like the muffins better.  Not all of the muffins.  The banana walnut are pretty bad.  The plain white ones are pretty bad too.  The corn muffins are okay.  The raisin bran with oats on top are probably the best.  One day I put cream cheese on a muffin, in part because I wondered if it would be good, and in part because I was too sleepy to remember whether cream cheese goes on bagels or muffins.  It doesn't go well on muffins.  I don't recommend it.  One day I stopped at a nearby baked goods emporium -- there are about 12 within a stone's throw; most are city-wide chains with impenetrable vaguely foreign names, like "Pax," "Le French Breakfasterie," "Bulgarian Bagel Shop," "Europa Cafe," "Asiatic Cafe," "Arctic Cafe," "Authentic Tacos, Pizza, and Kung Pao Chicken," "Cosi," "Pan-Asian Fusion Kosher Delicatessen and Spa," "Regurgitated Flour and Sugar," "Le CaffeineCaffeineCaffeine," and "Sewer Shack."  Three of those are real.  The rest are worthless filler.  Sometimes, if I'm expecting a slow morning where the urge to go to the bathroom will be a welcomed distraction, I'll get some tea too.  Sometimes I won't.  I like to surprise myself.
4. I arrive at my desk -- I share an office with another summer, which is nice.  Some people share offices with first-year associates, which is probably also nice, but in different ways.  Sharing an office with another summer means we can ask each other dumb questions about whether the blinking light on the phone means it needs maintenance, needs a new battery, or there's a voicemail message.  Or what the energy bars in the emergency kit taste like.  Or whether it's appropriate to ask our secretary to send something inter-office mail, or if that's something we should just figure out how to do ourselves.  And it sort of means that if I have nothing to do, I don't have to feel like I need to pretend, just because there's a "real lawyer" in the office who might notice.  But if I shared with an associate, there'd be someone to ask real questions to, about how to do actual lawyer stuff, and -- the real bonus -- someone to go to lunch with when other plans don't come to fruition.  Because the real goal of the summer is to go to lunch.  Not really.  But it's in the top ten.
5. I check my e-mail, voicemail, paper mail, and whether I've left anything on my desk with the intention of doing it this morning, but have forgotten about it sometime between leaving yesterday and arriving this morning.  Like, "Why's this paper here?  Oh, yeah, it's because I have to read it.  I should do that."  Papers on my desk right now: a phone extension without a label as to whose it is; three drafts of something I wrote last week; a sample form an associate gave me to look at; a fourth draft of the thing I wrote last week; an e-mail I printed; a mapquest map of somewhere I went last week; some handwritten notes from a conference call I sat in on; the name of an associate who wanted to know if I was free for lunch; my Lexis card with password on it; a petty cash voucher form for a $2.00 subway trip that I theoretically could get reimbursed for but don't really have the energy to figure out how reimbursements work just for $2.00.
6. So I'll either have an assignment I'm working on, or I'll have to check if someone has feedback on something I did and needs me to do more on it, or I'll e-mail someone and see if they have anything for me to do.  At the firm I'm at, we're assigned to a couple of attorneys for two- or three-week cycles, so we can sample a bunch of different practice areas and work with a bunch of different people, but it's flexible enough that it's no problem to keep working on projects after one rotation is done, or to go back to people you were working with before and see if they have anything new for you to do if things are slow from the people you're assigned to.  It's actually a loose enough system that you can make as much of the summer as you're motivated to, as far as trying out different work and different people -- you're not limited as far as where you can turn, but you're also always under some people's charge so you don't feel like you're totally on your own to find work.  The flipside is that you sometimes need to make an effort to find work, and that different summers can have radically different amounts of work just depending on who they get assigned to and what projects come up.  But I'm guessing that happens in most places, regardless of what the structure of the summer program is.  During interviews, I heard from a lot of firms about whether you do rotations or you're assigned to specific groups, or it's a free for all -- the basic structure of the assignment system.  But I'm realizing that the more important dimension is probably how rigid it is -- no matter what the baseline is, are you able to "contract out" by doing assignments in areas you want to try, and with people you want to work with.  A system where we had to stop each project on the Friday our rotation ended, and couldn't do anything not assigned by the people assigned to us would feel different -- not necessarily in a bad way, if there was enough work being assigned by your people, and if you were assigned to divisions you like -- than a more flexible system.  And the ability to change your preferences throughout the summer -- like, if you originally had to rank practice areas and were assigned to your top 3 for stints during the summer, but got to the firm and decided you don't like what you picked as #2 but want to try something else entirely, or you start doing #3 and realize you want to do more of it -- seems useful, because we know nothing coming in, and just being at a firm provides a lot more knowledge about what these people actually do in the different groups.
7. The assignments themselves.  Actually this part's pretty much what you might expect before the summer.  Researching on Lexis and Westlaw, writing up summaries of cases or memos or other big stacks of paper, reading through big documents looking for small stuff, helping to organize or arrange or manage big stacks of paper, filling out forms, checking rules and procedures, drafting e-mails, memos, perhaps some contractual language, drafting initial stabs at sections of a brief, sitting in on conference calls, going to hearings, tagging along in court, perhaps sitting in on a client meeting.  That's basically the collection of tasks.  Which seems a lot like what a first-year associate does.  I suppose asking about guidance wouldn't be terrible -- but I think probably all firms know how much guidance summer associates need, and all are probably pretty good about not giving people stuff they can't handle, at least not without appropriate directions and starting points.  The work itself has been appropriate to get a taste, but I wouldn't think it's something most people should be concerned about going in -- what they teach us in law school is enough to handle the stuff they want to throw at summer associates, at least from what I've seen.  These firms know what they're doing in this arena -- there's nothing to be gained from giving out work people are ill-equipped to do.
8. After some work and some e-mail checking, it's time for lunch.  I've already mined the summer lunch territory in previous posts.  The days we don't go out to lunch, usually people give a talk over lunch about what they do and what their group at the firm does, and from talking to friends at other firms, that seems pretty standard.  Sometimes hard to tell until you actually get an assignment from a group; and also, as much as they pretend otherwise, it seems like, on a broad scale, the work in one department is a lot like the work in every other.  It doesn't seem like there's a tremendous amount of variation except for the general point that litigation is more Lexis research and brief writing, and corporate/transactional is more contract reading and contract writing.
9. Afternoon, same as the morning, basically.  Some more work. I'm running out of steam on this post.  I think firms do differ on how many hours they expect a summer to be at work.  I have friends who stay pretty late.  That's something to ask about, but perhaps not until offer is in hand.  And maybe you want to be busy enough to have to stay late, I don't know.  Some people do.  Some projects require people to stay late.  Whether you stay late may be a combination of a crapshoot and your own work habits and style.  Just like there are people at law school who study more than they need to and are always in the library, there will probably be people at your firm who make things take longer than they need to and stay late for reasons that may not be apparent to people who do things differently.  Everyone works differently and gets differently stressed about stuff.  It's not all that dissimilar from school in this sense.  I get the sense firms are not dying to make you stay later than you need to.
10. And one or two nights a week, the day finishes with some sort of summer associate event -- territory, once again, I've mined before.  We've had the same mix of stuff as our peer firms, often at the same time -- bowling, scavenger hunt, culinary class, Broadway show, concert, etc.  It's fun, and usually comes with lots of food.  It's nice because it makes the summer feel like summer camp and not just work, and helps you get to know your fellow summer associates.  Okay, certainly the humor has petered out at this point in the post, and I don't know that I have any more to say under the "day in the life" backdrop, at least not right now, so I think I'll end it here.  Phew.  Hope someone found this helpful.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

A friend of mine, who's going to be a 2L pretty soon, e-mailed to ask me if I had any advice about New York firms and the interview process, or anything like that.  As I wrote back a reply about seventeen times longer than I'm sure he wants to read, I found myself thinking about issues that hadn't really crossed my mind when I was interviewing, but that, having experienced 10 weeks of summer work so far, might have been things to think about during the process, just issues I didn't realize might matter.  These thoughts don't reflect much about my summer -- it's just things that I'd probably be more curious about during the interview process now than I was before, just because I have a better sense of the terrain. 
a.  Size may matter.  I don't know what the differences are between larger firms and smaller firms.  I'm at a larger firm.  It probably wouldn't have been a bad idea to ask a smaller firm what makes them different from a larger firm -- is the work different -- does it get more substantive more quickly, or does a smaller firm just have fewer clients, and so the work is really pretty much the same at the junior levels?  Are there culture differences when there are fewer people, like how smaller universities can have a greater feeling of community than a larger one, or is the larger firm broken up in such a way that you work within a smaller community, and so there's really no difference?  Are the clients, and thus the complexity and interest level of the work, different?  Is the summer program itself a different sort of experience?  These are questions that may not matter, and that I don't have answers to.  But they might be things someone might consider.
b. Workflow.  I notice at my firm that people are busy for a while, and then less busy for a while.  This may be the nature of the practice, at all firms.  This may be something that people like more than always being medium-busy, or it may be something people don't like.  I don't know if it's different elsewhere.  So it may not be bad to ask whether there are systems in place to manage workflow, to ease the ebb and flow so it isn't a month with nothing and then a month with 20-hour days, or maybe you like it that way, and so you want to make sure there aren't systems that try to compensate for that.
c. It might be a good idea, before accepting an offer, to talk to associates who came from other firms, and how the new firm compares to the old one, why they left, what's different.  Maybe these are conversations after you get an offer -- but I don't know that I really appreciated that there are differences between firms, in terms of culture and work, that are very hard to discern during the interview process, but probably pretty obvious to people actually working there, especially people who've worked elsewhere.
d. I might think about asking how closely new associates get to work with partners, or if there are lots of layers in between -- again, this can cut both ways -- fewer layers may mean a system that's very scary for beginners, but also may mean more substantive work more quickly.  I'm not sure.  But it's something I didn't really think about. 
e. I would look at diversity on a broad spectrum.  Are there lawyers from different backgrounds, from different schools, with different interests, with different experiences -- in other words, are there people you can identify with, and feel some sort of sense that if this situation works for them, there's a good chance it'll work for me.  And maybe diversity is the wrong word to capture this -- affinity, perhaps.  Are there people like you, and do they like it?  Or is everyone there who seems to like it there very different from you, and so maybe you can't necessarily rely on their feelings mirroring yours. 
f. Facetime and what it means at the firm.  Do people leave early if they have no work, and can early mean something earlier than midnight -- if so, that can probably make the long days better, knowing that short ones are at least possible.
g. I'd probably ask how often people work weekends, or perhaps work from home on the weekends instead of coming into the office.  It seems like a lot of people at a lot of firms work to some degree on some weekends.  But the "some" is vague.  Again, I don't know if there are differences between firms.  There might be.
h. I'd ask about turnover rate.  I don't know what the average is, but I imagine someone does, and I imagine it's not a bad way to get a broad vision of satisfaction at the firm.  I admit that I don't know the turnover rate where I am, and I don't know what the industry average is, but it does seem like, at least when making interview decisions, this might be a really nice set of numbers to have.
Hopefully this was useful to someone.  I'll have more thoughts on the interview process in the coming weeks -- but if anyone has any questions, shoot me an e-mail; the questions may lead me to think of some stuff that wouldn't otherwise cross my mind.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Hey, a shot in the dark here, I'm looking for recommendations on laptops, or any I should stay away from.  I'm looking for something pretty simple -- for taking notes at school, using the Internet, probably a CD burner and a quality sound card -- but I don't care how big the screen is or about anything with an abbreviation -- RAM, ROM, HDTV, PCP, anything like that.  Just something that works.  So if anyone has any nice (or terrible) things to say about relatively cheap, but not crappy, laptops, let me know.  Anyone who knows cheap places to look, or works for Dell and can get me 30% off -- your e-mails are also welcomed.  (I've already looked at the Harvard discount laptop purchase page, which didn't seem like it was discounted much.  Way out of my league.) 
Inspired by "The Twelve Days of Christmas," I've had nine weeks of my summer job so far, and...
On the first week of summer, my law firm gave to me
A laminated picture ID
On the second week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the third week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the fourth week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Four day-long lunches
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the fifth week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Five days of pay!
Four day-long lunches
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the sixth week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Six hours of training
Five days of pay!
Four day-long lunches
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the seventh week of summer, my law firm gave to me 
Seven boxes of documents
Six hours of training
Five days of pay!
Four day-long lunches
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the eighth week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Eight summer associate events
Seven boxes of documents
Six hours of training
Five days of pay!
Four day-long lunches
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID
On the ninth week of summer, my law firm gave to me
Nine hour meetings
Eight summer associate events
Seven boxes of documents
Six hours of training
Five days of pay!
Four day-long lunches
Three briefs to xerox
Two research passwords
And a laminated picture ID

Friday, July 16, 2004

OK, so last night I wrote about the Dylan Moran one-man show I saw on Wednesday night, and that the one piece of his routine that stuck in my head on the way out was that he talked about life as basically a journey to find people who understand how you think.  Which I thought was interesting.  I'm going to ramble on this point for a bit without any real destination, so we'll see where I end up.  Okay.  Having something happen and then knowing that there's someone around that you can make eye contact with and know that they're thinking what you're thinking is nice.  It's comforting.  It makes me feel like I'm not insane; that maybe whatever's inside my head isn't crazy.  So that connection is good.  But I have a lot of friends where that isn't the case, at least not that often as far as I can tell, and that doesn't make them lesser friends, or mean I like being around them any less.  Because sometimes you're compatible even if you don't necessarily understand how the other person thinks -- or not "even if" but perhaps "because" you don't understand how they think, so they're interesting in a way.  Because you're not sure what they're thinking, and you're not sure how they're processing the thing that you're processing.  But frustrating sometimes.  Like, to give a relatively mundane example -- but it's the one that's coming to mind -- I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about being on time vs. being late.  I'm generally on time -- more than most people, I think.  I don't like being late, feeling like I'm going to be late, feeling like I'm keeping people waiting.  In a way, it's because I spend more mental energy than I should trying to make sure people like me, and if I'm late that's a reason not to like me, and that's fully in my control, and I'd rather be someone people can count on to be on time than someone people know is always late, because that feels like a better thing to be.  So I tend to leave early to get places, overestimate the time it'll take me, plan for possibilities that won't happen... so I'm not late very often, and when I am I usually have a totally legitimate and understandable reason, like the express train exploded or I got stuck in a meat grinder (huh?  I don't know where the words come from, sorry).  And the friend I was talking to said that he comes at it from the opposite direction.  He doesn't want to be late, but he always feels like something will take the shortest amount of time it has ever taken, and so it's reasonable for him to budget that amount of time -- and then something will come up right when he's getting ready to leave -- so he ends up late.  Not on purpose, but just because it happens.  Which is different from what happens to me, obviously.  And probably his way is better, because although it bothers me when someone is late, I chalk it up to "this bothers me more than it bothers other people" and don't actually hold it against them, unless they're consistently really late, and for no good reason.  Or don't call to say they're going to be late.  Or are just flaky about making plans in general, which, again, probably bothers me more than it bothers other people, but as long as someone is predictable -- if I *know* you always cancel plans, then I can plan for you to cancel and be happy when you don't and it's all fine, I understand, it's just how you work.  Now where was I going with this?  I don't know.  Thinking differently.  Yeah.   I think this was a bad example of where I was going, but it's a lot of words so I'm going to leave it.  I guess what I want to write is that I sort of agree with Moran's point, and it is really nice to find people who understand how you think, and you understand how they think, so you can realize you're not insane and feel like you're not all alone in this big, dark world.  Okay, this was useless, and I'v e just written a lot of words about absolutely nothing, so I think I'll stop.  This is what happens when I'm sitting at a desk too long.  :)

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Tonight, we had a summer associate trip to see Elvis Costello perform at Lincoln Center.  While I'd heard of Elvis Costello, I couldn't have named a single song of his.  After seeing him perform, I realize why.  He writes extraordinarily unmemorable songs.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, or that I don't think he's quite talented.  I enjoyed a lot of what he sang -- although the volume was way too loud (that could be because we were sitting pretty close) and so the actual words were really hard to decipher -- but can't remember a single tune.  He writes over chords, and simply doesn't have linear melody lines that are hummable and memorable.  And, he destroys any chance at remembering the songs by drowning his melodies in a wall of sound, the guitar jangle obscuring anything else, such that each up-tempo song is just non-stop jangle and they all sound the same -- and the slower songs get pretty dull.  And, he doesn't let his songs breathe.  It's non-stop words, no clear verse/chorus/verse pattern, no clear 8-bar phrasing... so it's hard to even understand where you are in a song.  Which all combines to make it -- to me, and I respect that minds can surely differ about this sort of stuff -- not at all unpleasant, but just not memorable at all, and not something I have much interest in hearing again.  Sorry, Elvis.  I'm not joining the fan club.
But that's just the opening act for the rest of this post.  Last night, I went to see the off-Broadway show "Monster" starring Dylan Moran.  Moran is a comedian from the UK.  His show, which is playing just through Saturday, I think, is basically 90 minutes of intelligent stand-up comedy.  Well, almost.  I actually really enjoyed it, and I don't tend to really enjoy all that much stuff I go see, so this was a pleasant surprise.  7.75 on a scale of 1-10.  I laughed out loud a few times, felt amused most of the time besides, and only zoned out once and started thinking about how I have no lunch plans for Friday with associates, and probably everyone else already does.  Anyway, about 65% of Moran's material seemed fresh and was engaging and even thought-provoking at times.  The other 35% was standard stand-up comedian shlock, including a bit about America's fetish with children that I think he may have stolen from George Carlin.  If you're going to steal, Carlin's a great one to steal from.  But that 35% that didn't work for me ought to be cut, replaced with stuff more like the 65% that worked, and Bingo, great show.  I totally recommend this show if you're looking for something to do in Manhattan Friday or Saturday night.  The Village Theater, 158 Bleecker Street.
The one piece of his routine that stuck in my head on the way out -- he talked about life as basically a journey to find people who understand how you think.  I think I have things to say about that.  A broader discussion.  But I will save it for tomorrow, since I have to sleep.
Just a couple of notes on books I've read since the last update, though:
>>The Working Poor, by David Shipler.  It's a book about people on the fringe of poverty.  There was a NY Times Magazine excerpt from the book a while back, about a woman who works in Wal-Mart and has no teeth.  If you read that and liked it you'll like the book.  If you didn't, you won't.  I thought it was okay but nothing special.  So this is all the space I'll give it.
>>Blindsided, by Richard Cohen.  Cohen's wife is Meredith Vieira from The View.  Cohen was a TV news producer, got multiple sclerosis, and got colon cancer -- this is a book about coping with serious illness but trying to live lief anyway.  It's very personal, it's very engaging -- it's a little graphic at times regarding colon stuff, so the best place to read it may be on the toilet.  It's a fine book.  You're not missing anything if you don't read it, but if you're still reading this paragraph, you might like the book.  

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I went to an Antitrust Law Seminar today. Actually, let me just pull some language from the invite to be more precise about it:

"For some years the Antitrust Section of the New York State Bar Association ("NYSBA") has presented a summer program for law students who are interested in the practice of antitrust law and who are working in the New York City area in the summer."

My firm had sent the invite along to the summer associates; many other firms did the same. I'm marginally curious about antitrust law; the thought of a little field trip and a change of scenery perhaps was also a factor. So that was from 9-11 this morning.

The session was in another firm's cafeteria. The tables had little table tents advertising a summer of pork, or some promotion like that. Pictures of truly grotesque looking food that made me very glad that my firm doesn't have a cafeteria. This cafeteria was actually run by the same people who do dining services at the law school; another reason to be very, very thankful my firm doesn't have a cafeteria. It's weird, because before the summer I would have said that a cafeteria is a plus -- now I would definitely say it's a minus. You don't really want to be stuck in the building all day. You want to get out, even if it's not for a "summer associate lunch" but just for something quick and cheap. You want the break. Especially as a summer associate, when what you're doing really isn't uber-critical. So if you're thinking how I was, that a cafeteria at the firm would be kind of cool because you'd always have people to eat with and wouldn't have to go find something every day -- take my thoughts under advisement. I think you'll be glad you don't have a cafeteria. Trust me on this one.

The session also featured marginally decent crumb cake and completely inedible scone-like bricks which could have done some damage if thrown at the speakers. I couldn't see the speakers because there was a big column in my way. I guess I could have moved. I guess.

A significant fraction of people were taking notes. I took very brief notes, but only to facilitate the writing of this post. Here are my notes, along with the explanation for why I wrote them:

"Like it... boss is here" -- the first speaker said she's liked her time at the firm so far... and mentioned that her boss was right there. So her statement was obviously 100% credible. :) I don't mean to say she doesn't like her job -- how do I know whether she likes her job -- just that it's not like there was anything else she was going to say.

"Antitrust is antitrust" -- I think that was from someone saying that it didn't matter where you did antitrust work, but that antitrust is antitrust wherever you do it. Clearly this was a helpful comment. "Work is work" -- thanks, but what is it exactly that you *do*?

"Antitrust monthly" -- one guy said antitrust is relatively academic and that you can publish a lot, in places like "Antitrust monthly," "Antitrust magazine," "Antitrust reports," [please assume my quotes are invented from this point on in the paragraph] "Antitrust weekly," "Antitrust daily," "Antitrust hourly," "The Journal of Antitrust," "Antitrust Review of Books," "Antitrust Gone Wild," "The Antitruster," "U.S. News and Antitrust Report," "Antitrust Illustrated," "Antitrust & Stream," "Antitrusteur," "Mother Antitrust," "The Antitrust Reader," "Antitrust Digest," "PlayAntitrust," "Rolling Antitrust Stone," "Antitrust Aficionado," "Antitrust for Kids," "3-2-1 Antitrust," "Archie, Veronica, and Antitrust," "Mad (about Antitrust)," "The Antitrust Lampoon," "Everything you ever wanted to know about Antitrust but were afraid to ask," "The New Republic of Antitrust," "Antitrust Travel & Antitrust Leisure," "A: The Antitrust Magazine," "Martha Antitrust Living," "AntitrustStyle," "Better Homes and Antitrust," "Mother's Antitrust," "Men's Antitrust Health," "Vanity Antitrust Fair," and "TV Antitrust Crosswords." Phew.

OK, now that I've run that joke into the ground...

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The All-Star Game is overproduced. How about some more sound effects, FOX? What about a camera in the ball itself? That'll be fun! So what if everyone throws up? Let's mic former President Bush, sitting in the first row, visible on every pitch, but not mentioned until the 4th inning. Or how about showing some computer-generated fireworks every few minutes? Or "Skippy" or "Snappy" or whatever the animation's name was showing us how to throw a slider? What about some graphics about all the players' favorite breakfast cereals? How about airing the game in 3-D? Or HD? Or as an MTV music video? I don't understand. Just show the game. Relax with the special effects.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Whenever someone leaves the firm, they send a Departure memo to everyone in the office, thanking people who they've worked with, providing contact information, etc. But why save them just for when you're leaving for good?

TO: All Personnel
RE: Goodbye (for the day)

I am leaving the office at 5:30 today, with great sadness, for an opportunity to spend some extended time with my family until returning tomorrow morning.

Before I leave, I would like to thank a number of people for helping to make my time in the office today pleasant and rewarding: thanks to Bob for the guidance and support, John for taking me out to lunch, Sheila for holding the elevator for me, and Herb for cleaning the office. Thanks to Joe for making sure the photocopier did not run out of paper; thanks to Lauren for all of the good times; thanks to James for helping me through the rough spot around 2:00 when I couldn't find my keys. It would be impossible for me to recall everyone I've worked with today, but I hope you all know how much I've appreciated the opportunity and chance to continue my legal career with such wonderful people.

I will miss you all, during my commute home, as well as when I get there, and I will keep you all in mind until I return.

Please stay in touch. You can reach me by e-mail, although probably not until after 7:00; of course my cell phone will be with me at all times. I hope to remain in contact with all of you; you are my lighthouse in the storm.

I regret not having the chance to contribute more to the team during my time here today; if only I had taken ten more minutes to read the document this morning; if only I hadn't missed the light coming back from lunch -- the regrets are virtually endless. But I will treasure the time I spent -- in my office, in the lobby, in the bathroom, and the many other paths I've crossed from this morning until now.

At the risk of leaving out something I will regret, I want to bring this note to an end with a wish that every job could be as fulfilling as mine has been, today, and share with you the feeling that my heart beats more strongly and my soul shines brighter because of these 8 hours we've spent together.

Do not hesitate to let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you, at least until the morning. Also note that I will be unavailable this evening between 7 and 7:20 due to an appointment for a haircut. Callers during that time will be able to leave a voice mail, and I will return those messages as soon as I am able. This brief vacation from electronic communication will allow my spirits to rejuvenate before taking on the next set of challenges that my life has to offer.

Cheers, and Best Wishes,
Here's a sketch based on an idea I pondered a while ago. My execution could be better, but what can I do.

(OPEN ON: VH1 video opening to “I Love the ‘80s,” altered to read, “I Love the 1820s” and a montage of clips)

From the Missouri Compromise to the invention of the Electromagnet to making your own food, VH1 presents “I Love the 1820s.”

I’m your host, a stand-up comedian no one’s ever heard of. Remember where you were when you heard that the whaling ship Essex was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific Ocean?

(over a video re-enactment of a whale ramming a ship) It was November 20, 1820, and the Essex was on the sea, looking for whales. Suddenly, the crew felt the boat shake. For 94 days, the survivors clung to life, turning to cannibalism when they ran out of food.

I think I was getting my nails done when that happened.

Man, I cried myself to sleep that night. Dude.

We all remember hearing the terrible news that Daniel Boone had died at the age of 85.

Daniel Boone was da man.

Daniel Boone. Man, I miss that fellow.

Can you imagine life without a lawnmower? Neither could Edwin Budding of Massachusetts.

The lawnmower was originally designed to cut the nap from cotton cloth. I don’t know about you, but *I* could sure use a nap.

I love mowing lawns.

Lawnmower, man. Wow, lawnmowers. Dude.

And in politics, Congress made the trade of foreign slaves an act of piracy.

Go get ‘em, Congress!

That’s all the time we have tonight on VH1’s “I Love the 1820s.” Tune in next week for the accurate calculation of the diameter of the Earth, the life of Euclid, and Rome conquering Spain, on VH1’s “I Love the 3rd Century B.C.!”
Books & Movies Update

I saw "Control Room" last week, which is a documentary about Al Jazeera television and how it compares with U.S. media coverage of the war in Iraq. It's basically a behind-the-scenes at the media coverage of the war, spending a lot of time in Al Jazeera's newsroom and at press conferences. Very interesting, very worthwhile, compelling stuff -- certainly anyone interested in the war or the media in general (and not even necessarily both) will find it fascinating. The Boston Globe has a pretty solid review. Roger Ebert's take is similar. Check 'em out if you're on the fence; I actually think I probably got more out of this film than Fahrenheit 9/11, since this one just feels more true and not as driven by an agenda. Not that Fahrenheit 9/11 wasn't entertaining; but, like I said after I saw it, it's just hard to know what's real fact and what's manipulated fact.

On the bus to and from the firm's vineyard tour on Saturday, I read Richard Yancey's "Confessions of a Tax Collector," which is a memoir of a few years the author spent as a "Revenue Officer" for the IRS, going after people who didn't pay their taxes. You will learn very little about taxes from this book, so don't read it for that. No tax secrets. Because the book is really about a frustrating job with frustrating co-workers, and coping with a life that gets consumed by that job, and the hours and stress it entails. It's relevant for a much wider circle than just tax collectors, and that's both its primary strength and its primary weakness, I think. It's a strength because he makes it easy to relate -- you can imagine co-workers like his in any office, in any setting; you can imagine the struggles of work-life balance, of figuring out how to cope, of dealing with the day-to-day of what he describes as a pretty dismal, horrible lifestyle and job. Although he stays for a dozen years. And here's the weakness: I don't care. I don't have any intrinsic interest in what an IRS Revenue Officer does, he overkills the book with acronyms and descriptions of forms and procedures that don't matter and that really don't enlighten us as to much. It seems like he failed to realize that his book wasn't really about the IRS, but that his experiences were just a platform for some broader commentary on jobs and lives and coping and figuring out your path. But he never leaps off the platform and takes the reader anywhere rewarding. I found myself waiting for the introspective leap -- waiting for the broader themes to come in, waiting for some discussion of society, and what it says about society that this job exists, that these people exist, that this is his life. But he doesn't go there. And, his book is filled with unlikeable characters, people who sound dreadful to be around. Including him. He takes the reader to an unpleasant world, and leaves us there to languish in the details for 300 pages. Did I finish the book? Yeah, so I really can't attack it too much. But I was waiting for more insight, a payoff, a reason to stay engaged. And it never came. There's some interesting stuff inside, some passages you'll read and realize they can apply to all sorts of situations; and there's an element of curiosity satisfied about what an IRS Revenue Officer does -- but unless this really gets you excited, I'm not sure I recommend.

Also last week, I read "Are You Really Going To Eat That?" a collection of food writing by Robb Walsh, a former columnist for a bunch of in-flight airline magazines, the Austin Chronicle, and some other publications. It surprised me that airline magazines would hire someone this good. The essays are very readable, very satisfying. They're all pretty short, so the book moves fast and you don't get bogged down; some of them even made me wish for more detail. They do all sort of blend together at some point though. The book is subtitled, "Reflections of a Culinary Thrill Seeker," and the book does contain its share of essays about food on the edge -- exotic shellfish and game, things you won't find in a normal supermarket. But that's part of what makes it interesting. It's solid food writing, so if that stuff tends to grab you, it's a good read. Like most food writing, though, it does lack that feeling of relevance -- you're not missing anything if you *don't* read this book. But it was a solid commute read.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is this Tuesday. To make the game more fun, allow me to present:

The All-Star Game Drinking Game

One drink for every time a new player enters the game.

One drink for every time a product is mentioned as the official [whatever] of Major League Baseball (e.g. "Depends is the official adult undergarment of Major League Baseball.")

One drink for every human interest clip of a first-time All-Star walking around with a digital camera recording every moment of this "once in a lifetime magical experience." Another drink if they show his wife and kids. A third drink if they show his parents.

One drink for every time they show a child in the crowd eating cotton candy, waving a foam finger, or sleeping on his father's lap. Another drink if it's twins. A third drink if they're wearing matching baseball-themed outfits. A fourth drink if they're vomiting.

Two drinks for every time the announcers mention another record Barry Bonds has recently broken.

Two drinks for every time they show a replay of Derek Jeter diving headfirst into the stands to catch a foul ball.

Two drinks for every Mastercard "Priceless" commercial.

Two drinks for every time Tim McCarver makes a highbrow literary reference the other announcers don't understand.

Two drinks for every inarticulate interview clip where a player says something about being "honored to represent his country in the All-Star Game." Two more drinks if they wave a miniature flag while they say it.

Three drinks for every time Roger Clemens throws something at Mike Piazza within the context of the game (e.g. the ball, when he's pitching)

Four drinks for every time Roger Clemens throws something at Mike Piazza outside the context of the game (e.g. the watercooler)

Five drinks for every time the Commissioner calls the game a tie and ends it because he's worried that there aren't enough pitchers left.
I went to the Yankees game with some friends today. It was a lot of fun. The game, despite the lopsided 10-3 score (the Yankees won) was pretty close up until the end, there were a lot of home runs, some good pitching, the major league debut of a Yankees reliever, and the seats were in the shade, so it wasn't brutally hot.

There's a point in between innings when the Yankee scoreboard flashes messages sent in by spectators -- "Congratulations on your graduation, Charlie. Love Mom and Dad." "Welcome to your first Yankee game, Billy, age 3." "Happy Anniversary Sheila." "Jane, will you marry me, Love Pete." And so on. I wonder how much censorship goes on -- how many messages they reject each day. Like, I wonder if any of these would get through:

*Harry, Sorry I killed your dog.
*Welcome, Jessica, to the first game since your nervous breakdown.
*I hope your tapeworm goes away.
*Barbara, Hope your fertility treatment is successful.
*Good luck in prison, Joe!
*Bob, Glad you decided to come to the game with me instead of going to your brother's funeral. From, Sam.
*Wanda, sorry I raped you, Love Tim.
*Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

It's actually about 1:45 on Sunday morning (Saturday night) but I'm back-dating because no one really reads this between midnight and 2 a.m. on Saturday night, plus I'm admitting what I'm doing, so I figure it's excusable. We had an all-day law firm social event that involved a wine tasting and a vineyard and then a hanging out / eating lots of food afternoon and evening.


1. There is this weird thing called "ice wine," made out of frozen grapes, that has the consistency of maple syrup and tastes really, really terrible. Even if someone charges like $35 for a bottle of it. I don't drink very much at all, so maybe I'm just missing the point of this thing. But I really just didn't get it.

2. There are lots of ways to grow grapes. They showed us 8 different ways. You don't want more details than that, trust me. Although if you're having trouble sleeping....

3. Sunscreen: good invention. I'm glad I remembered to bring it.

4. Water: good invention. Although it makes you pee a lot.

5. Food: good invention. Although sometimes enough is enough and it just gets silly.

6. There is a company called "Rent A Tent" and they do exactly what it sounds like. Do people grow up dreaming of being in the tent rental business?

7. Glassware + Pool = Broken Glass + Bare Feet. Just a cautionary note. I actually don't think there were any incidents. But I could imagine one.

8. "Rent A Tent." Really. I can't get over that one.

Friday, July 09, 2004

The following post has been partially redacted by my employer.

So, it was just another day today at [--------]. I sat in on a conference call between [--------], a partner in the [--------] group known for being [--------], [--------], and very [--------], and our client, [--------] Corporation, a multi-national (France, the U.S., and [--------]) conglomerate that sells [--------], [--------], and extra-large [--------]. During the call, which was held in conference room [--------], the lawyers drank [--------] and [--------], although I just had [--------] from the [--------]. It lasted [--------] minutes. The client wanted the firm's advice about [--------], [--------], and cheating the government out of [--------]. But it turned out that in fact, the CEO of the firm, [--------] [--------], had [--------] someone with a semi-automatic [--------]. He [--------] instantly. But he fled to [--------], a small island off the coast of [--------], opened up a secret [--------] account, and now wants the firm to defend him. Also, we found out that the Vice President of Marketing is a child molester, but he's only done it [--------] times.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

From a movie marquee not far from here: "King Arther"
An open letter from a Lexis Rep to the Director of a Law Firm Summer Program

To Whom It May Concern:

For over 40 years I've been working at the Lexis family of companies, moving up from an entry-level job inserting the asterisk page numbers into cases, to Assistant Shepardizer, to Managing Director of Elaborate Pricing Schemes, to my current post as Vice President of Our Silly Competition With Westlaw. In all of my years, I have never seen such irresponsible Lexis usage as that which has been perpetrated by the summer associates at your firm. 138 F.2d 651. Your summer associates have searched in databases too large, databases too small, inappropriate circuits, irrelevant secondary sources, and bizarre periodicals in their search for the timely legal knowledge a skilled Lexis user can locate -- and it ought to shame you that nothing has been done to address the problem. 75 U.S. 451. One summer associate, who shall remain nameless (but see 1P4R88B), was looking for cases where motions to dismiss were denied in the Third Circuit. He selected the database for All Cases, and searched for "motions to dismis." First of all, the database was too big, costing your client an extra $0.14. Second, he spelled dismiss incorrectly. Third, he used quotation marks. Everyone who wasn't dropped on his head as a child knows that you don't use quotation marks in Lexis. You use them in our evil nemesis who shall actually remain nameless. We at Lexis are too good for quotation marks. We hate quotation marks. Quotation marks, die, and never show your evil two-pronged faces again. You are the devil come to life. Much like another associate at your firm, who double clicked on the search button, COSTING YOUR CLIENT FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS AND TWENTY-SEVEN CENTS! You don't double click in Lexis. One click is more than sufficient to release the power of the world's foremost legal database. How dare you doubt us and click twice. We are working. We are searching. We are processing. We do not need your extra click to spur us to action. We are already there. We are all-powerful. We are almighty. We are Lexis, KING of legal research. I must go roll in piles of money now. But I wanted to alert you to the impending doom you face if you do not address these critical malfunctions among your despicably incompetent summer class. Long live Lexis. Long live Mr. Shepard, who tirelessly tracks all of the cases cited by future cases. Long live Mr. History, who tirelessly tracks all of the searches you do. Long live Matthew Bender, who writes treatises that we pay to syndicate. Long live our good friends at Nexis. And long live you, but not your insipid summer associates.

Good day,
Your Friendly Lexis Rep
From the New York Times:

"[J]ust over half [of adult Americans] — 56.6 percent — read a book of any kind in the previous year, down from 60.9 percent a decade earlier."
Over at De Novo we're trying something cool this week -- Survivor: Blogosphere, an elimination-style blogging competition. The winner gets to blog with us for the rest of the summer (no cash, sorry). We have a bunch of contestants, and perhaps we'll have them do some cool stuff. I don't know. We're figuring it out on the fly. But check it out if you like.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Twenty-Five Things I Didn't Do At Work Today

1. Write a brief
2. Donate money to Ralph Nader
3. Milk a goat
4. Overdose on morphine
5. Pee in the elevator
6. Forge a signature
7. Surf in the bathroom sink
8. Slide down the stairway bannister
9. Make guacamole from scratch
10. Do a Westlaw search
11. Install new carpet
12. Eat the entire muffin I took from the Attorney Lounge
13. Ride a unicorn
14. Perform the Heimlich maneuver on a partner
15. Read a treatise
16. Change a fluorescent light bulb
17. Order pizza
18. Take a deposition from a werewolf
19. Disassemble a computer
20. Get someone fired
21. Escape to safety using the emergency staircase
22. Disconnect a conference call
23. Expose myself to my secretary
24. Bark like a dog
25. Earn my salary

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

This morning on my commute I began to read Stephen Glass's novel, The Fabulist. Stephen Glass, as you may recall, is the subject of the excellent, excellent movie "Shattered Glass" -- the writer for The New Republic who made up a whole bunch of stories from whole cloth, and after way too long not getting caught, finally got caught. (And went to law school, but that's a discussion for another day.)

The book, which came out a little more than a year ago -- 5 years after he got caught -- is billed as a novel inspired by what really happened to him; the reviews of the book (uniformly quite unfavorable) insist it's basically a memoir with the names changed (nonfiction as fiction, instead of his problem before -- fiction as nonfiction), and the characterizations played up so as to make him look less bad and the people around him less good. Which is sort of how it reads.... but I've been wanting to read it, because I found the movie tremendously compelling, and, honestly, although it sounds bad to say this, I can see what his temptation was. I'm sure most writers can -- the story would be so much better with that perfect detail, that perfect quote, that perfect character... all the way up to the story would be so much better if it was a completely different story than the one that really happened, but instead was the one in my head. But I'm not completely sure how someone could have the lack of conscience to actually write the fake story and submit it for publication -- and to forge documents and subvert the fact-checking and build up a web of lies to support the fake story -- and to continue to ratchet up the stakes from a fake quote to articles that were completely untrue in every respect.

And perhaps that's where the difference is -- most of us can imagine the temptation; few of us can actually imagine doing it; and even fewer of those people would go beyond imagining to actually do what he did. I mean, when I think about what he did, my closest parallel is that for my senior thesis in college, I came up with some words I thought would look nice in a quote, and then did a Lexis search to find if there was anything that fit -- reverse engineering, I guess -- and actually found something pretty close, and completely relevant, that I could cite. But even though that seems sort of improperly reasoned -- motivated badly, by the desire to find the quote instead of working in the other direction -- I'm pretty sure that's not even on the same slippery slope as what Glass did, and pretty much what I've discovered Lexis research is all about, actually.

But where I'm going with this post is that I wanted to read the book to learn more about what was going on in his head, and also about life as a writer at The New Republic, and what his world looked like, as compared with the world the movie created. And while I'm getting through the book with much less difficulty than the reviews indicated I might -- one reviewer I read said that he can't imagine anyone who wasn't involved in the situation actually being motivated to read the whole book -- there's not so much introspection going on, and, since the book starts as Glass is getting caught, not so much inside-The-New-Republic stuff going on. But there is one passage, all the way on page 141, that I found myself reading over a second time, and I wanted to flag. It's from a fictional phone conversation with his best friend from work, a week after Glass gets fired -- I know it's fictional because the real character it's based on wrote a review of the book, and insisted in the review that the call never happened. But it's some interesting emotional content to ponder. I'm quoting extensively here; hoping I'm not breaking any copyright laws:

Two years ago, Brian's car had broken down near York, Pennsylvania, around midnight, the night before his article was due.... [E]ven though he didn't ask me to, I drove up to York [from Washington] that night, arriving after 3 a.m., and brought Brian home. He finished the piece and it ran in the magazine after all.

"At the time, I thought, Holy [], what an amazing friend," Brian explained. "I wouldn't have driven that far. that late, for anyone. But after you did that for me, I absolutely would have done the same for you. Hell, I would have driven to Alaska for you. It was like some kind of logic game. You took the first step, and proved to me you would be my great friend, and after that I would have been happy to repay you tenfold.

"But, Steve, you never called in the debt.... You never asked any of us for favors. Which is really strange, since you were always doing them for us.

"Steve, you do favors people don't even ask for. You noticed what we liked to eat, what we liked to read--then you'd always get it for us....

"I now realize why you do all these favors. It's because you're asking for a favor every day--your own kind of favor. You ask for our trust and approval and kindness and love. That's what you want. You want the things we give away for free. But that's not friendship, that's buying us."
Now, maybe he writes this to paint Brian in a bad light, like he's turning Steve's friendship into something sinister. But the passage got me thinking a little bit. We all want people's trust and approval and kindness and love. Or do we? I do. But maybe other people don't? But if I feel a little like this guy who's making up magazine stories so people like him... does that make me capable of bad stuff like that too? And maybe this is the kind of thinking he wants people to engage in, so they get a better sense of how he could do this. Or maybe I shouldn't care if people like me. Anyway, the passage was thought-provoking. Enough that I felt like typing it to share. Interesting book, if you liked the movie. I don't feel nearly as terrible about the book as the reviews did. (Then again, I got it for free from the library.)
E-mail from Tax Professor:

Model exams for the Spring, 2004 Taxation B final course are now available for your review on Blackboard. These were two different, but very good exams, only slightly edited...
Nope, not really tempted to go check those out. I wish I was. Sort of. But I don't even remember the exam too well, and I was ok with my grade, and... no, I'm really not tempted at all. But I do appreciate the opportunity. Really.
OK, so Kerry picked Edwards. I've read no articles about this yet, just saw it on TV this morning in the Attorney Lounge for a few seconds. So this is uncorrupted opinion here (and really what I have to say is pretty unobjectionable, I think), but I think Edwards was the safest choice for Kerry, since any other choice would have led to the question, "Why not Edwards?" and that would've been the story. So by picking Edwards he probably makes less news -- since it was the expected choice, and thus probably won't have days and days of analysis to follow, as perhaps there would be if he'd picked Hillary Clinton or Kermit the Frog or Tipper Gore or anyone else he might've dug up from the woodwork somewhere (Kerry-Mondale in '04?), but he also probably makes most Democrats at least pleased enough with the choice that if they were going to vote for him this won't stop them, and maybe get him some new voters who really liked Edwards. Yeah, I've got nothing really useful to say here. Except for this:

Top Five Related Top Ten Lists I Considered, But Realized I Couldn't Keep the Joke Going for Ten, with one example for each to illustrate

1. Top Ten reasons not to pick Edwards that Kerry overlooked ("People thought *Kerry* had Botox; look at Edwards!?")

2. Top Ten reasons Dick Gephardt wasn't picked ("Campaigning in sunny states would be hazardous toward Gephardt's pale complexion that has become his trademark.")

3. Top Ten rejected slogans for the Kerry-Edwards tickets ("Use the john. Or vote for them.")

4. Top Ten reasons Bill Richardson wasn't picked ("Despite being Hispanic, name does not sound Hispanic, and therefore only the informed voters would be influenced; informed voters form such a low percentage of the electorate that it would not be worth it.")

5. Top Ten reasons Tom Vilsack wasn't picked ("To people who haven't heard of him, his name sounds kind of obscene, in a strange sort of way.")
NOTE: The last few days, Blogger has been weird, and sometimes when I go to my site it says page cannot be displayed. Just keep hitting refresh until you get it. Appears to be a Blogger-wide problem. Nothing I'm doing. Can't really complain, since Blogger is free, but hope no one's just giving up after one try. Hopefully Blogger will have it fixed someday.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Quick test re: the power of the Internet:

If you were inspired to buy a piece of swordfish in the supermarket this afternoon, to cook for dinner, what would you do with it? My default is to squirt some lemon on it and stick it in the oven for a little bit, but I'm open to other ways to deal with it. I've also got some yellow tomatoes, if that inspires anything. Damn you, Whole Foods Market, for making food seem so delicious! :)

[UPDATE: No grill at home -- to answer one reader's question -- but I chose the stovetop griddle pan instead of the oven, sliced some fennel (also courtesy of Whole Foods), sprinkled on some chili powder and black pepper, and it was very good.]